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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 12-03-15, 07:34 PM   #26
wphamilton
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I was in a bit of a weight weenie mood when I built my single speed Jake the Snake a couple of years ago, so I weighed everything and kept a spreadsheet. The final build came out to just over 18 pounds. Comparing my notes to the numbers you've mentioned, I think the big differences are as you say here: about 3 pounds (!!!) for the wheels/tires/freewheel, half a pound for the saddle, probably around a pound for the fork, around half a pound for the crankset, maybe as much as a pound for the frame. My wallet came out significantly lighter too -- just my frame and fork cost me twice what you paid for the whole bike.
Yep if you abandon all hope of a lighter bike things come cheaper with less deliberation. However, for not a whole lot more money some lighter wheels and saddle could be had and it would begin to be a light bike by my standards so the temptation is always there. Not going to happen for a good while though.

Another thing to add to the review. I'd written it off as some SS peculiarity but the chain was noisy, as in needing lube noisy. But a new chain, on a new bike, needing lube - I just didn't consider it. After today's commute I finally checked. It was dry to the touch, not even sticky, and a little wet lube quieted it right down. So one more thing to add to the check-over list.

Last edited by wphamilton; 12-03-15 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 12-04-15, 09:32 AM   #27
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How's the ride

I may be jumping the gun since I've only had it for a couple of commutes and a trip to the store, but I'm really pleased with the ride feel and handling so far. The Cromo frame and fork do seem to alleviate some harshness although I'm not wild about the tires. It came with 700c-25 (I didn't see brand) and they have that sort of low-end solid feeling that I associate with stock tires. I'll be replacing them eventually with 28's or 32 if it will fit.

The ticking freewheel will drive me batty. I've asked Bikes Direct to send me a replacement; if they don't come through* I'll have to buy one, probably an 18 tooth to compensate for the bike's heftiness.

The rack and splurging on a new blinkie and bottle cage added an extra $25 so the running total is $254. I still need fenders which will be $15 in parts, so ultimately $269 for the bike in commuter mode. I'll probably swap the tires with some nicer Prima 2 tires I've got so I won't count the tire cost yet.

* BD has already sent a replacement freewheel, immediately on my email. You can't ask for better than that.

Last edited by wphamilton; 12-04-15 at 05:38 PM. Reason: update BikeDirect service
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Old 12-05-15, 01:22 AM   #28
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I had a White Industries freewheel on a Leader frame. It made the downtube sound like a beehive with the buzz resonating through the frame.

So much for discounting the freewheel for being cheap!!!!

But, with a fixed cog and only a front brake, the Leader weighed just over 16 pounds. It's on my PedalRoom.
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Old 12-06-15, 09:57 AM   #29
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To show that it really is set up for commuting/utility:

On the fixed gear side I was now rewarded with a different noise (which turned out to be some stupidly loose spokes, which I should have caught during my inspection mea culpa). In the sunlight, with my specs on, I was able to see this on the rim:

Look at the edge of the rim. I haven't had the tire off yet and if I did I wouldn't bugger up the rim like that. It looks to me like someone has been installing tires with a screwdriver. Did Bikes Direct send me a returned wheel? Or do they install tires with screwdrivers at the Bikes Direct warehouse?

What do you think, would I be being picky and unreasonable to make an issue about it?
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Last edited by wphamilton; 12-06-15 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 12-06-15, 05:21 PM   #30
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To show that it really is set up for commuting/utility:

On the fixed gear side I was now rewarded with a different noise (which turned out to be some stupidly loose spokes, which I should have caught during my inspection mea culpa). In the sunlight, with my specs on, I was able to see this on the rim:

Look at the edge of the rim. I haven't had the tire off yet and if I did I wouldn't bugger up the rim like that. It looks to me like someone has been installing tires with a screwdriver. Did Bikes Direct send me a returned wheel? Or do they install tires with screwdrivers at the Bikes Direct warehouse?

What do you think, would I be being picky and unreasonable to make an issue about it?
No, I'd complain about it. They'll offer you something. Though it does seem to me you should've noticed it (and contacted them about it) sooner.
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Old 12-06-15, 06:58 PM   #31
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No, I'd complain about it. They'll offer you something. Though it does seem to me you should've noticed it (and contacted them about it) sooner.
It's only been 3 business days But I'm going to let it slide and just note it as a negative on my review here. I was mainly worried about the wear on a used wheel, but I had a closer look at the hub and there were no signs of wear that I could see. I also re-tensioned the spokes and trued it; while I'm no wheel-builder I'm satisfied that it's good now.
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Old 12-08-15, 08:13 AM   #32
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...
A new Shimano FW from my LBS was quieter, and the fancy Eno FW by White industries even more so. (I'm picky!)
....
The replacement they sent me is a Shimano which I assume is a decent freewheel. Hopefully I'll have time tonight to change it out.
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Old 12-08-15, 08:36 AM   #33
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Bikes Direct
Why be bothered with this?

A 25 pound SS that needs to be gone through completely is a $20 bike at best.
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Old 12-08-15, 09:21 AM   #34
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Why be bothered with this?

A 25 pound SS that needs to be gone through completely is a $20 bike at best.
Good question. Every once in a while I'd get the urge and price a frame, fork etc, just to build one from scratch. The problem is I always wind up with $300 plus to get the minimum that I wanted, and a bit more if you want any decent wheels. Conversion might be a little cheaper but there are downsides to that and if I did go that route, rather than buying a used beater to convert it would make more sense to convert my Nashbar bike and replace it with a higher end road bike. But I'm too cheap to go that route, so the whole conversion idea is not very attractive to me.

A couple of weeks ago Bike Island was offering the frameset for $110, and that included the fork and headset, seat clamp. It's a decent chromoly frame and fork with possibly some kind of cosmetic defect, very tempting at that price. But let's compare. Postulating that I'd use some wheels I have laying around, the cheapest acceptable build came to around $185. The BD bike has the same frameset, and wheels, and pretty good bits and pieces for $229. So apples to apples, the wheels account for $44. Sure they're heavy and my rear wheel needed some work, but they're worth $44 obviously. From that perspective, who cares about the wheels? Add to that, I'd be spending some time sourcing pieces and assembling it, a couple of hours extra at least which is worth more than the $44 by itself. So it was kind of a no-brainer decision.

I've got a front wheel, tires and a saddle languishing in my utility closet, which may be 2 or 3 pounds lighter when I get around to it. For sure that or more when I decide what to do with the rear. These stock wheels will become spares. I'm not really worried about the weight.

The short answer is that a SS that needs to be gone through completely is really more like a $350 bike.
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Old 12-08-15, 09:54 AM   #35
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The replacement they sent me is a Shimano which I assume is a decent freewheel. Hopefully I'll have time tonight to change it out.
That's what I've got on my singlespeed right now. It makes a knocking sound once in a while (not sure what that's about...maybe one of the pawls sticking?), but it's functional. This is definitely a consumable part. The only one I've seen that people seem to love is the one from White Industries, and there goes any thought of budget again.
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Old 12-08-15, 09:57 AM   #36
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Was the "clicking" on SS or fixed? (or both)

I thought my BD SS crank was clicking until I flipped to the FG side. Those freewheels they put on there are C-H-E-A-P.
Yup, I got one of these a while back and the (stock) freewheel was garbage. Also might suggest changing out the chainring for a round one.


Overall I have been quite impressed with how mine has held up. Had no issues after changing tires, and putting on a good freewheel and chainring (where I lowered the gear inches substantially).
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Old 12-09-15, 11:16 AM   #37
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DId you say that you made the fenders? how well does the flat piece of aluminium work?
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Old 12-10-15, 07:47 AM   #38
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DId you say that you made the fenders? how well does the flat piece of aluminium work?
Surprisingly well. It blocks almost all of the splatter from the back, and I think I get a little extra spray from the front (as the tire turns left and right) but not much.

I didn't have any steel rod handy so I robbed the strut off an old cruiser fender for the front, and mounted the back with an angle bracket from the rack. They turned out pretty good in my opinion, except for one zip-tie where I got in a hurry and forgot to replace with a bolt - I'll post a better picture later since you can barely see them from the side view.
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Old 12-10-15, 02:41 PM   #39
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@wphamilton I saw some fenders like that on a Trek Soho i think ... i always wondered how well they would work.
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Old 12-10-15, 04:09 PM   #40
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I'm thinking of getting one of these for my son to get around Manhattan with minimal fuss. He borrowed a friend's single speed this summer and liked it. Meantime, we gave him a Citibike subscription even though they won't be in his neighborhood until the spring.
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Old 12-10-15, 06:56 PM   #41
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@wphamilton I saw some fenders like that on a Trek Soho i think ... i always wondered how well they would work.
It just needs to be wider than the tire, this is 1 1/4" wide I think.


The rear is simple to mount, a bracket to the brake pivot

and to the plate frame on the rack (where I got sloppy,
but the offset is because the rack isn't exactly straight)

and a plastic zip tie on the chain stay
It's plenty solid, no rattle.
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Old 12-10-15, 07:00 PM   #42
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I'm thinking of getting one of these for my son to get around Manhattan with minimal fuss. He borrowed a friend's single speed this summer and liked it. Meantime, we gave him a Citibike subscription even though they won't be in his neighborhood until the spring.
Although I'm grousing about the wheels and the weight, I don't really see anything wrong with it. On my commute this morning, one hill with really rough pavement was far smoother feeling than on my aluminum road bike, no complaints about the ride.
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Old 12-11-15, 09:11 AM   #43
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Anyone know how to get the head tube decal off without marring the paint? It looks like it's under clear coat and I can't feel the edges at all. Would you take a heat gun to it?

It's not a burning issue, but it seems like the red Dawes logo detracts from the nice generic look of the frame.
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Old 12-11-15, 01:03 PM   #44
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Anyone know how to get the head tube decal off without marring the paint? It looks like it's under clear coat and I can't feel the edges at all. Would you take a heat gun to it?

It's not a burning issue, but it seems like the red Dawes logo detracts from the nice generic look of the frame.
Yes, a heat gun (or even a hair dryer) would still work but you would then have no clear coat in the areas where the decals were.

I've done it and just hit those areas with car wax; looks just fine...
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Old 12-11-15, 01:14 PM   #45
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The generic look will be nice for this bike. Lots of people like generic looking bikes around here, and I like the look, too.
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Old 12-11-15, 10:57 PM   #46
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About the fenders, it looks like an aluminum threshold strip for a screen door. Is that what it is? Nice idea.
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Old 12-12-15, 10:19 AM   #47
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About the fenders, it looks like an aluminum threshold strip for a screen door. Is that what it is? Nice idea.
Almost, it's a carpet seam strip.

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pretty cool review.
Thank you
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Old 12-12-15, 10:32 AM   #48
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The generic look will be nice for this bike. Lots of people like generic looking bikes around here, and I like the look, too.
I do too, even the black (I wanted orange but it was out of stock). There are no decals except that one on the head tube and the "4130" sticker on the seat tube. I haven't yet screwed up the courage to hit it with a heat gun to get the decal off.
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Old 12-13-15, 01:43 PM   #49
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Update: after swapping the tires out and that saddle this weekend, it's a pound and a half lighter. I don't mean to bad-mouth the stock Kenda's since they are solid dependable tires and seem to never wear out, but they are so heavy and slow-rolling. Big difference when you put on your particular favorite tires.

I've got about 150 miles on it so far. After one week of commuting (that's only about 80 miles for me) the Dawes is exactly what I'd hoped for, with no unpleasant surprises after I got everything lined out. The replacement Shimano freewheel is silent and seems to have a higher quality of materials and construction, so I have to agree with Almost trick and advise an upgrade from stock for this bike.
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Old 12-14-15, 10:32 AM   #50
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Well, I see it's a little late, but since I went to look. This frame will hold a 35 tire rear, and 38 tire front, without fenders and of course knobbies and dependent on chain length in back.
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